Browsing All Posts filed under »Books«

Laland & Brown, Sense & Nonsense

February 3, 2008


I’ve just finished reading a book that I really wish someone had recommended to me when I got to the KLI. Written by Kevin Laland and Gillian Brown, it is an introduction to the variety of evolutionary approaches to human behaviour that have developed since E.O. Wilson’s Sociobiology came out in 1975. Apart from sociobiology, […]

Review of Wimsatt Re-engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings

December 31, 2007


My review of Bill Wimsatt’s recent book is now up on the Metapsychology website: Many current philosophers, even ostensively naturalist ones, are rightly accused of doing philosophy in a way that actually keeps it hermetically closed against science. In Wimsatt’s hands, however, philosophy becomes part and parcel of science. The resulting book, even if aimed […]

Zusne and Jones on magic in traditional and Western societies

December 5, 2007


Here’s a quote from Anomalistic Psychology: A Study of Magical Thinking by L. Zusne and W. Jones (p. 246): Although the incidence of practice of superstitious magic may be thought to be surprisingly high in Western societies, it would be incorrect to assume that their attitude toward magic is the same as it is among […]

Diamond on Wilson

November 30, 2007


I have just come across a New York Review of Books review of Darwin’s Cathedral. The review was written by Jared Diamond. Getting Diamond to review Wilson was the perfect choice as both exhibit a rare breadth of knowledge, depth of understanding and intellectual modesty. Diamond writes: Obviously, the main subject of Darwin’s Cathedral—religion—is widely […]

Darwin’s Cathedral by David Sloan Wilson

November 20, 2007


I have finally read David Sloan Wilson’s book Darwin’s Cathedral. Wilson, whom I have already mentioned numerous times, tries to explain religion as a group-level adaptation, by giving an evolutionary interpretation of Durkheim’s functionalism. I really like the book for a number of reasons. First of all, Wilson shows a generosity towards other researchers, even […]

De Sousa on rationality

October 15, 2007


I’ve just finished writing a review of de Sousa’s latest book Why Think? Evolution and the Rational Mind, which is an attempt to present a sketch of a naturalised non-reductionist account of reason. He manages to tie together an astounding amount of research though I am not altogether happy with the end result as I […]

Zusne & Jones Anomalistic Psychology – On heuristics

September 13, 2007


I am currently reading the last of the three classic texts on the psychology of superstition – Anomalistic Psychology: A Study of Magical Thinking by Zusne and Jones – having already read the Vyse and the Jahoda volumes. It has proved surprisingly interesting thus far – ‘surprisingly’ as I had not expected to find much […]

Review of Linden – The Accidental Mind

September 12, 2007


My review of Linden’s book, which I previously discussed here, is now up on Metapsychology Online Reviews.

Linden’s accidental religious narrative

August 22, 2007


I have just finished reading The Accidental Mind by David Linden, which is basically an introduction to what neuroscience has revealed about the brain over the last few decades. The book is just the sort of thing that anyone who is doing anything in the interdisciplinary study of cognition should read to make sure that […]

Wimsatt Re-engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings

August 10, 2007


As I have previously mentioned, I am currently reading Bill Wimsatt’s new book. It is proving a difficult read – I have only managed to get to about page 100 of what is a fairly thick book. Wimsatt’s book is focussed around the implication of Simon’s notion of bounded rationality for philosophy. Thus far, I […]


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